Skip to main content

If you are really concerned about the economy, the environment, and the poor, stop shopping at Wal-Mart. Too often I hear conservative politicians slingling the sound byte that corporations create jobs and CEOs are society’s most effective job creators. They insinuate that without corporations, our economy would collapse and no one would be able to find a job. But with corporate profits at an all time high and an unemployment rate of nearly seven percent, this theory is inconsistent with reality.

Inconveniently, the Republican politicians in Congress appear to be the most concerned about the national debt under Obama yet still promote the policies of Wal-Mart and other corporations which pay their employees poverty wages. This is especially troublesome because the workers who make minimum wage or slightly above, are taking advantage of food stamps and Medicaid which adds to the national debt.

But how much money are you actually losing when you shop at Wal-Mart? A report from the Democratic staff of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce found that a Wal-Mart supercenter based in Wisconsin employing 300 workers could cost taxpayers $904,000 annually. The logic is simple, when low-wage workers can’t afford basic health care or food, the taxpayers pick up the tab.

So when the Republicans talk about how the hard working Americans shouldn’t have to use their hard-earned tax dollars to pay for the “moochers” of society living comfortably off the government, they are really talking about the people who work hard every day and still cannot make ends meet.

The salary of the average Wal-Mart employee is $8.89 an hour. If that worker works 10 hours per day and 7 days per week for 52 weeks a year, his/her salary would be $32,359.60 which is less than the estimated $44, 952 that it takes to raise a family on one income with a child in my town of Hightstown, NJ. Even worse, Wal-Mart pays their cashiers even less at $8.49 an hour.

A common Republican rebuttal is that most people on minimum wage are teenagers who aren’t supporting a family and therefore raising wages will do next to nothing for middle class families. Unfortunately for that argument, the average age of a minimum wage employee is 29. The fact of the matter is that the minimum wage jobs have now become the means by which people support their families.

Another frequent argument is if Democrats want to raise the minimum wage to fifteen dollars, why not raise it to 50 or 100 dollars and hour. The simple answer is that it would be unreasonable for the cashier at Wal-Mart to be a millionaire. However, it is just as unreasonable for a minimum wage employee to rely on food stamps and government assistance to put food on the table.

I understand and can relate to the convenience factor that Wal-Mart and other corporations bring. So this article wouldn’t be complete without suggestions on where to “shop your interests” while also shopping for groceries. Costco is a great option because it’s employees make an average of $17 an hour and receive better-than-average benefits including health care coverage to over 90 percent of it’s workforce.

The most powerful way someone can make a difference these days is deciding where to spend their money. By shopping at Wal-Mart you involuntarily add to the tax dollars you will pay that year. This is counter-intuitive because Wal-Mart is known for it’s astonishingly low prices compared to other retailers. But by saving a dollar or two on a six pack of soda or a gallon of milk, you support a company that is most responsible for the plight of it’s workers and the American economy. And you, you are imperative to it’s success.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  The problem with the logic of the report (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib, nextstep

    is that it assumes that if a particular worker was not working at Wal-Mart, he/she would be working somewhere else at a higher salary.  That's the only way a worker at Wal-Mart can "cost" the taxpayer money.  If on the other hand, that worker were unemployed as an alternative to working at Wal-Mart, then theoretically Wal-Mart is saving the taxpayers money by lessening the support that the particular worker needs from the government.  

    I agree the minimum wage needs to be raised.  I just don't buy arguments like this, where the logic is so clearly faulty.  

    And $15 is not going to happen, in the immediate future, nor should it.  An increase that much in the short term will almost certainly cost a significant number of jobs.  The studies concluding that raising the minimum wage does not cost jobs generally have dealt only with "modest" increases, like 10% or 15%.  See for example the study here (pdf).  And, there's certainly some evidence that raising the minimum wage does cost jobs.  See study here (pdf).

    Overall, while raising the minimum wage probably needs to happen, it's not like you can just raise it as high as you want -- like to $15 -- with no negative consequences.  It's a real balancing -- do you want fewer, but higher paying jobs, or more, but lower paying, jobs?    

    •  If the jobs don't pay the worker enough to survive (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      than what real value to anyone except the employer do they really have? And tell me this - why was the unemployment rate lower and the labor participation rate higher in 1968 when the real purchasing power of the minimum wage was 30 percent higher than today.  If your argument applied in general there would have been a higher unemployment rate in 1968 than today.

    •  BS, many Walmart and McDonalds employees (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      receive government benefits because they cannot live on their income alone. This costs the American taxpayers money...a lot of it. On average each Walmart costs their community almost a million dollars a year.

      If the minimum wage had kept were linked to inflation in 1968 today it would be about $10.50/hr. If the minimum wage were linked to worker productivity it would be about $23/hr. The idea that raising the minimum wage to $15/hr would cost our economy too many jobs is ridiculous. You ignore the fact that these lower income workers spend all their income and live paycheck to paycheck. Millions of workers earning an extra few bucks a week would create more demand and more jobs than would be lost. That's what actually happens every time we have increased the minimum wage.

      Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

      by RMForbes on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 07:37:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  read the studies I linked to (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        and then we can talk about the potential effects of raising the minimum wsge.  

        •  The studies are based upon false assumptions (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          in reality every time we have increased the minimum wage the economy grew which produces more jobs and not less.

          Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

          by RMForbes on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 07:54:54 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  RMF - we have no data on how the economy (0+ / 0-)

            or small businesses who employ many minimum wage workers, would react to a more than 100% increase in the minimum wage. We have lots of data on increases of 8-15% and the consensus of that data is that increases of that magnitude are not disruptive.

            We really don't know what would happen if the minimum wage was raised to $15 immediately or in a short time period.

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 08:04:20 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Nobody is suggesting that it would all at once (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              blackhand, Tonedevil

              Even modest raises in the minimum wage are usually done in steps over several years.

              Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

              by RMForbes on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 08:17:32 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Actually we do have such data (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              VClib, Tonedevil

              I lived in Oregon when Portland raised it's minimum wage and included tipped workers at this new level. The Restaurant Owners Association screamed bloody murder that it will put them out of business...but it didn't. In fact, their business significantly increased and they had to add employees. The minimum wage more tripled all at once for hundreds of tipped workers in Portland and it didn't cost any created them.  

              Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

              by RMForbes on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 08:23:58 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  The minimum wage issue is one of several factors (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        that are contributing to the disparity issues we are having in this nation.  It is also a contributor to the "walmart effect" in general and should be addressed.  Still it is only part of the problem.  When we consider Walmart we must also look at a whole host of other regulatory and taxation issues that have paved the way for the off shoring of America's jobs.  

        In and of themselves, the idea of the corporation is a good thing and one of the key principles that has lead to modern society.  It allows people to collectively pool their resources in a manner to enable capital ($$) endeavors larger than can be achieved by individuals.  It also limits limits their personal liability and loss to the amount invested.  This too is a good thing but it is imperative that be regulated to prevent abuse.

        The problem is that the corruption has reached a point of critical mass where the power of the corporations has exceeded that of the populace in terms of governmental representation.  

        "It's not surveillance, it's data collection to keep you safe"

        by blackhand on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 07:41:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  You forgot mandatory overtime in your calculation. (0+ / 0-)

    The year's gross salary would be $39293.80 :)

    •  The calculation is already too high (0+ / 0-)

      because most Wal-Mart employees aren't working 10 hour days every day of the year and are instead working only 28-40 hours a week. The calculation included was to emphasize how little the employees are paid and how unrealistic it is to expect the average wal-mart worker to support a family based on the poverty wages he/she is being paid.

  •  A link to the study in question (0+ / 0-)

    would be helpful to me, and perhaps to other folks reading your very thoughtful first diary.

    Thanks for joining the daily kos conversation.

    Welcome from the DK Partners & Mentors Team. If you have any questions about how to participate here, you can learn more at the Knowledge Base or from the New Diarists Resources Diaries. Diaries labeled "Open Thread" are also great places to ask. We look forward to your contributions.

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 08:23:08 AM PST

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site